Clean eating lunch ideas for weight loss are essential when planning your lunches for the week, to choose foods that taste good and make you feel good. When it’s midday and you realize your stomach is already growling, the last thing you want to do is find a place to get a healthy meal, or worse, give in to temptation and grab something quick and unhealthy.
What Is Clean Eating?
A clean eating diet aids in fat and weight loss while also enhancing energy and general well-being. Additional advantages include improved skin clarity, hair strength, and sleep quality.
Furthermore, clean eating emphasizes the consumption of whole, nutrient-dense foods, which can provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs to function at its best. By prioritizing whole foods over processed ones, you may also experience fewer cravings and a greater sense of satisfaction from your meals.
Clean eating is a way of life rather than a diet. Nothing is strictly forbidden, presumably why the clean eating plan is so popular. Simply, clean eating is eating more natural foods and fewer manufactured items1.
Can You Lose Weight By Eating Clean?
Eliminating unhealthy processed meals, fast food, and other junk foods favoring nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruits, fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats will improve general health, well-being, and weight loss.
You can lose an average of 3 pounds or more every week by committing to a clean eating diet, depending on how much weight loss you need to reduce.
How To Start A Clean Eating Diet
- Incorporate a variety of nutritious whole foods into your diet.
If you are currently eating a diet consisting of highly processed foods with high levels of refined sugar and sodium, start by incorporating a lot of nutritious whole foods rather than eliminating them.
You can go to the grocery shop and fill your cart with all the foods that will fuel your body that you’d like to include in your diet. But focus an abundance of purchase on veggies, fruits, protein, and healthy carbohydrates. Because your cart is already filled, you will most likely cut the amount of processed food by 80%.
- Plan your meals.
Meal planning is essential for grocery shopping success. You will not only buy the required foods but also reduce food waste and save money. You’ll also spend much less time meandering around the aisles, possibly grabbing some junk food.
Have a plan before you go shopping. Make a list of the ingredients and write down the recipes for the days you want to plan for.
Arrange your meals from breakfast to dinner. Other people prefer to plan day by day, taking into account their appetites for certain foods or the best prices of the day at the supermarket. Some want to plan out their entire week. Do whatever works best for you, but make a list of it.
- Pick simple recipes.
Choose meals that require no more than 30 minutes to make. You will gain confidence and may want to try more intricate dishes as time passes. But first and foremost, keep it basic. It will help you realize that cooking healthy meals from scratch is not difficult, making it easier to maintain a healthy diet in the long run.
Clean Eating Lunch Ideas For Weight Loss: Healthy Lunch Recipes
1. Roll-Ups with Herbed Shrimp and Cabbage
This 15-minute dish is perfect for healthy lunches and weight loss. It has a lot of protein to keep you full and is the ideal, fresh addition to your lunch box. Serve it with different sides for a complete meal, and you’ll look forward to lunch all morning.
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 savoy cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces large peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked and cut into four pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon. chopped fresh chives
- 4 Savoy cabbage leaves, blanched
- Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper to dissolve in a bowl.
- Toss cabbage leaves with dressing. Fold in shrimp, dill, and chives.
- Spoon into blanched cabbage leaves and roll up.
2. Chicken Fajitas with Chipotle Sauce
These 30-minute fajitas will enrich your delicious lunch and flavor your noon meal. There’s a lot to love about this dish’s adaptability since you can change the lean protein, fresh vegetables, and toppings to suit your tastes.
Furthermore, while the recipe asks for tortillas to make traditional fajitas, you can substitute a bowl of rice, quinoa, or greens for a bowl-style dinner that’s easier to carry.
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms.
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles in adobo chiles in adobo
- 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 8 flour tortillas warmed
- grated cheddar cheese for serving
- cilantro for serving
- lime wedges for serving
- Season chicken with cumin, chili powder, and 1/4 tsp. Each salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Add chicken and cook, occasionally stirring, until cooked through, 5 to 7 min. Transfer to a plate.
- Add red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic to the same skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 min. Stir in chipotle chiles, lime juice, chicken, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until heated through.
- Serve chicken and vegetables with tortillas and toppings.
3. Lettuce Cups with Thai Turkey
Combine lettuce leaves, a herby, creamy cilantro sauce, and fragrant Thai-inspired ground turkey for a substantial and delightful lunch. It just takes 20 minutes to prepare, but if you want more, serve it bowl-style with greens and a grain bowl like brown rice, cauliflower rice, wild rice, or quinoa.
- 1 jalapeño, chopped, seeded if desired.
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 lb. lean white ground turkey
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 8 butter lettuce leaves
- radishes, thinly sliced, for serving
- In a blender, purée jalapeño, cilantro, yogurt, lime juice, and cumin until smooth.
- Heat canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Add ground turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until golden brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, and ginger, then cook, tossing for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in lime juice, soy sauce, and up to 1/4 cup water (if it seems dry).
- Sprinkle with scallions and spoon into lettuce leaves. Serve with cilantro sauce and sliced radishes if desired.
4. Quinoa Fruit Salad
This is a delicious and nutritious dish that combines the nutty flavor and protein-rich quinoa with a variety of fresh fruits. It’s a great option for a light lunch or as a side dish for your next barbecue or picnic.
- 1 cup quinoa dry, pre-rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup blueberries and fresh
- 1/2 cup strawberries and fresh
- 1/2 cup mandarin oranges
- 1/2 cup mango chunks
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon of mint leaves fresh, chopped
- Over medium-high heat, bring water and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil, cover, and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed most of the water. Turn off the heat and leave the covered quinoa on the burner for another 5 minutes. Allow cooling, then refrigerate until chilled.
- Combine the chilled quinoa with the fruit in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the oil, lemon juice, and honey in a jar with a lid and shake. Toss with the salad and sprinkle on the fresh mint leaves.
5. Spring Greens with Strawberries and Candied Pecans
Crunchy, sweet pecans and juicy berries make this salad special. This salad not only tastes delicious, but it also provides a variety of nutrients and health benefits. The greens and fruit are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, while the pecans offer healthy fats and protein.
- 4 cups spring mix of leafy greens
- 2 cups romaine heart lettuce torn into bite-size pieces
- 11 ounces mandarin oranges in natural lemon juice, drained
- 1 cup strawberries fresh, sliced
- 1 red onion small, sliced into thin rings
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup candied pecans for garnish
- Combine all the above ingredients in a large salad bowl, drizzle with 1/2 cup White Balsamic Vinaigrette or other salad dressing, and toss to combine.
6. Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Try this Mediterranean tuna salad if you’re searching for a healthier alternative to mayo-laden tuna salad. It’s made with olives, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers. This tuna salad is delicious on a sandwich, crackers, or by itself. Using top-quality tuna packed in olive oil will enhance the flavor of this recipe.
- 6 ounces tuna can or jar, packed in spring water; recommend Safe Catch Tuna
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts diced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives pitted, chopped
- 1 roasted red pepper chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley fresh, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of basil leaves slivered
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- salt to taste
- pepper freshly ground to taste
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
- Serve in lettuce leaves, on a baguette, or whole-grain crackers.
7. Skinny Burrito in a Jar
Make a bean burrito in a jar with layers of salsa, beans, creamy goat cheese, and sour cream. Shred any leftover chicken or lean beef into it for extra protein if you would like.
- 1 cup salsa, no sugar added
- 15 ounces of black beans canned, drained
- 1 cup cheddar cheese reduced fat, shredded
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt nonfat, optional non-fat sour cream
- Evenly divide each ingredient into 4 (1/2 pint size) canning jars. Add ingredients in this order: 1/4 cup salsa, 1/4 heaping cup black beans, 1/4 cup cheese, and two tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream.
- Refrigerate for up to two days. Eat straight from the jar or add to a whole wheat wrap.
8. Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Grilled Chicken
This warm, healthy meal packs nutrients and many simple, rustic flavors. Barley is high in fiber, while chickpeas are legumes high in fiber and protein. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful, natural antioxidant. Grilling the chicken and using just the white meat is a lean and healthy way to get more protein out of your meal.
- 1 cup barley uncooked
- 12 ounces chicken fillet
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups chickpeas pre-cooked
- sage, fresh, bunch
- 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Over high heat, in a pot of salted water, put the barley and bring it to a boil. When it boils, cover and simmer on low heat for 1/2 hour or until tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Over medium-high heat, on a hot griddle, grill the chicken for 2 minutes on each side if thin or more if the cut is thicker. When they are cooked, chop then set them aside.
- Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the tomatoes for 1 minute.
- Add the chickpeas, barley, and sage. Toss for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken.
- Season with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss for 1 minute.
- Serve warm.
9. Pasta Salad with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes
Taste some Italian flavors in this delicious pasta salad. Make the whole recipe and have it for lunch all week.
- 6 ounces whole-grain short pasta like penne, farfalle, fusilli, mezze maniche
- 12 basil leaves, big, fresh
- 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 1/2 cup mozzarella drained from its water and chopped
- Over high heat, boil a pot of salted water. When it starts to boil, put the pasta. Cook according to the number of minutes indicated in the package or until they are al dente.
- When cooked, put the pot under the faucet and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain, then set aside in a bowl. Drizzle a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil so they won’t stick together.
- Using an immersion blender, prepare the pesto. Blend the pine nuts, basil, garlic, salt, and goat cheese. While blending, pour the extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.
- Mix the pasta and pesto in a serving bowl, then add the tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.
10. Grilled Chicken and Blueberry Salad
With a little crunch and a bright blueberry flavor, this chicken salad will be the star dish of your healthy lunch recipes.
- 5 cups mixed greens
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup almonds slivered
- 2 cups boneless and skinless chicken breasts cooked and cubed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toss the greens, blueberries, almonds, and chicken breasts in a large bowl until well-mixed.
- Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, blueberries, and honey in a blender for the salad dressing. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tips And Tricks For Your Clean-Eating Plan
Making the switch to clean eating can be challenging for some. Follow these success guidelines to help you stick to your clean-eating plan:
- Combine the total calories of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner to meet your daily calorie requirements, and add one to three snacks as needed. Daily meals and two snacks are approximately 1,800 calories (500 calories per meal; 150 per snack).
- Make a plan for your meals and snacks. If you go more than five hours without eating, include a healthy snack to keep your body from becoming hungry and breaking down valuable muscle.
- If you’re still hungry after you’ve finished your regular meals and snacks, drink a cup of tea or a similar zero-calorie beverage; it could be boredom, thirst, or another emotional response rather than hunger.
- If you are still hungry after many days on the plan, you may need to add another snack to your daily eating routine.
- Recruit a friend (or two, or three!) to join you on this clean eating regimen. Having someone to talk about your triumphs with and cheer you up when you’re feeling bad is always beneficial. Friends help you stay motivated and positive. Support is a crucial aspect of any healthy diet.
Final Points To Remember
While planning your lunches for the week, it is most important to choose meals that you enjoy eating, make you feel good, and keep you content.
In addition, choose nutrient-dense foods that complement your health goals. Your plate should contain fiber, fat, and protein to encourage satiety and appetite control. Also, don’t forget to include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your lunch meals to ensure that you are getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for optimal health and well-being.
1 Ambwani S, Shippe M, Gao Z, Austin SB. Is #cleaneating a healthy or harmful dietary strategy? Perceptions of clean eating and associations with disordered eating among young adults. J Eat Disord. 2019 Jun 3;7:17. doi: 10.1186/s40337-019-0246-2. PMID: 31171970; PMCID: PMC6545628.
2 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2022. USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies 2019-2020. Food Surveys Research Group Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/nea/bhnrc/fsrg